Shadow Systems burst onto the scene in 2019 with its own concealed carry-esque pistol, the MR918. Looking straight into the eyes of Glock perfection, the MR918 looks to upend the stalwart pistol and become the go-to for users looking for custom-like concealed carry.

As a concealed carry fan, I took on the task of testing the new MR918 platform to see if it lives up to its hype.

What is the MR918?

MR918

The MR918 from Shadow Systems adopts a Glock look but these pistols are more than they seem. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Released at SHOT Show 2019, the MR918 is a striker-fired polymer pistol chambered in 9mm. Now, you might look at this and think to yourself, “Sure looks a lot like a Glock.” You’d be right and that’s because the design was inspired by the Gen 4 Glock 19. Though it adopts a similar aesthetic, Shadow Systems maintains that their polymer frame is 100-percent their design taking a couple of years to develop.

The pistol comes in two flavors – the Combat and Elite. The Combat brings a base model to the table, while the Elite offers elevated, high-end features such as a ported, optics ready slide and threaded barrel. Speaking of the barrels, both models deliver a customized look adding a gold-ish accent to the black slide and frame.

MR918

The Elite, left, and the Combat, right. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The MR918 pistols offer a weight around 24-ounces, measuring 7.125-inches in length and with barrels coming in at 4-inches, though the Elite’s threaded version adds an extra half inch.

The frame on both variants sport an interesting grip texture found on areas that you normally wouldn’t see texturing on, like forward of the trigger. All of this works together to provide positive contact points for shooters so if you’re hands are sweaty or wet, you’re not losing your grip on the gun. Now, texturing can sometimes go overboard to a point that is painful or destructive; but Shadow Systems seems to have struck a nice balance between an aggressive style that isn’t over the top.

MR918

The Elite’s optics ready slide accepts the Trijicon RMR Type 2. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

In addition to some spiffy texture, the MR918 also opts for a double undercut trigger guard and an extended beavertail — a nice bonus for those of us that like to choke up on the grip. Additional perks include a flared magwell for easier reload, a flat-faced trigger, tritium front sight, three interchangeable backstraps and a handy pusher tool to deal with that backstrap pin.

It’s worth noting that the MR918’s finish, which makes the gun look nice, is quite bothersome to keep clean. It readily picks up fingerprints and hand oils as well as scratches from the holster. Now, all this wipes clean and doesn’t impact the functionality of the pistol; but if you’re a stickler for aesthetics this could rub you the wrong way.

MR918

The pistols offer a flat-faced trigger. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

On the Range

From the get-go, the MR918 impressed me. I started with the Combat model at approximately 7-yards. My first three shots provided a close grouping — much closer than I’m used to seeing with my CCW, a Gen. 4 Glock 19. For an hour, I continually threw a bevy of rounds downrange — everything from Winchester white box to Hornady Critical Defense with no issues. All the while, my targets were peppered with nice, tight groups.

The MR918 is extremely easy to handle. Recoil was minimal and I was able to control the firearm, easily placing those follow-up shots exactly where I wanted. It became apparent that, though a seemingly trivial accessory, the interchangeable backstraps contributed to better accuracy.

MR918

The MR918 performed well on the range. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

With high, neutral and low options, I had swapped the neutral backstrap in for the low variant and it made all the difference. The low backstrap was slimmer which allowed my petite hands to gain a more natural grip on the gun – even better, unlike my Glock, my index finger wasn’t stretching to reach the trigger which frequently throws my Glock shots to the left. I was hitting dead center with the MR918 all because the gun provided a better grip angle for me.

The Elite version provided the same results as the Combat – shooting flawlessly and fitting perfectly in my hands. The Elite also featured the bonus of an RMR cut. I paired a Trijicon RMR Type 2, previously seen on the FN 509 MRD, with the MR918 to see how the two would do. The Trijicon rode steadily on the Elite and after a volley of fire and a day at the range, it was still securely in place.

MR918

(Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

For me, the addition of the red dot and the RMR cut slide made little difference. I suffer from astigmatism and I’ve yet to find a red dot that doesn’t produce an irritating and distracting starburst pattern. For the sake of testing, I ran the Trijicon though I did so on its lowest setting so I could maintain a sight picture with the iron sights — which bring a 1/3 co-witness with the optic.

Concealed Carry

MR918

The MR918 Combat slipped into my Dark Star Gear AIWB holster with ease. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The issue for most concealed carriers looking to make a switch always comes down to gear. No one wants to restock their inventory of holsters for an entirely new set-up, myself included. Shadow Systems has thought this through though and, since the build is on par with the Glock 19, the MR918 Combat easily slips into any holster designed for the Gen 4. G19 platform.

Word of caution, if you opt for the Elite make sure your holster comes with an RMR cut otherwise it won’t fit with a red dot attached. Also, depending on the style of holster you have that extra half-inch, courtesy of the threaded barrel, can prove problematic.

MR918

The MR918 Combat in the Dark Star Gear Orion. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The Combat package, though, fit flawlessly in all of my Glock holsters including my personal favorite EDC from Dark Star Gear. As it features similar dimensions, the draw felt about the same so there were no major adjustments needed.

Final Thoughts

MR918

The Elite offers a spiffy look. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

While the MR918 was a pleasant surprise, its price is not. Starting at $878 for the Combat package and $988 for the Elite, the pistols aren’t cheap. Given that you can get a Gen. 4 Glock 19 used for around $400, for the average consumer the MR918 won’t make sense; but, then again, the MR918’s market isn’t the average gun guy.

The MR918 fits that niche of gun owners who want custom but don’t want to have to do the work themselves or send their beloved gun off for work. This is where the MR918 excels – with gun guys and gals who will surely swap sights, barrels, and slides off stock guns. The MR918 justifies its high price tag by doing all the heavy lifting for consumers. It’s best to remember what you’re getting with this package instead of focusing on just the sticker price.

MR918

(Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

All in all, the MR918 performed better than expected and in a move that shocked even me, has slowly taken the place of my Glock 19 as my EDC. I intend to do a follow-up review in about 6 months to see how this gun truly holds up to the rigors of concealed carry but until then, if you’re on the hunt for a custom gun under $1,500 with a few bells and whistles Shadow Systems has you covered.

SHOP SHADOW SYSTEMS HERE

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